The 2020 Fender Next program will elevate global artists representing the new face of guitar in music and culture. Learn how it all came together.
By Mike Duffy
Fender has long championed players that push boundaries, and that commitment reached new heights in 2019 with the introduction of the Fender Next program - the first of its kind for Fender and the musical instruments industry - aimed at amplifying up-and-coming artists as they evolve throughout their respective careers.
Now, the Fender Next program is taking another step in championing artists in 2020 by providing gear and support to showcase their work and introduce their music to new fans.
Twenty-five artists will be selected to participate in Fender Next, and interested artists can submit their application here. Artists will be selected from diverse genres, nationalities and identities.
"We work with over 2,000 artists, and supporting and servicing artist needs first has long been at the core of our artist marketing efforts," said Fender Vice President of Artist and Integrated Marketing Matt Watts. "We wanted to develop a program that was our flag in the ground and say, 'We are making a commitment to artists through product, marketing support, public relations strategies and other areas to hopefully move the needle for them.'"
Last year, Fender Next artists achieved great success, from Ashley McBryde's crowning as Artist of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards to King Princess's acclaimed debut album release and subsequent performance on Saturday Night Live.
"The music industry has dramatically evolved in the last 10 years - from the diversity of artists, genre and new inventive usage of guitar to streaming service platforms, labels, social media and the emergence of accessible recording via home studios," said Fender CMO Evan Jones. "Guitar is healthier than ever before and being used in more inventive ways by an increasingly diverse set of artists across genres.
"The Fender brand voice is the sum total of the artists and players that create with our products. So, as a global company whose products are represented on countless albums and stages around the world, we decided that it was time to make a deeper, long-term commitment to elevate and amplify artists that are moving music forward today. We have and will continue to invest in artists across every aspect of our marketing mix, but this program just deepens that ongoing commitment to a growing allegiance of artists keeping guitar at the forefront of music and culture."
In addition to providing global performance opportunities and Fender product, Fender Next artists will be featured across Fender content from editorial to social media, telling their individual stories as they progress on their musical journey.
"We don't see any other brand or music company doing anything of this magnitude, and we're beyond excited to see how Fender Next elevates players, as they make music on stages and in studios around the world," said Watts.
"As this is an annual program where we can put more equity in to represent our commitment to artists, we want to help inspire the next generation of players through these artists."
Artists can apply to take part in the Fender Next program here. Submissions close on Dec. 17, 2019 at 11:59 p.m.
Stream the 2019 Fender Next artist playlist on Fender's official Spotify account below.